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Why I lost all my hair

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My name is Gladys Chege and I have been a kindergarten and Sunday school teacher for the last 21 years.

When I was younger, I had long beautiful hair, which I loved braiding. Like most women, it was such a joy when someone complimented my hair. My sister always made my hair and the result was always enviable.

However, one day in 2009 as my niece was undoing my braids, she noticed a tiny bald patch at the back of my head. I assumed she must have pulled out of my braids while undoing the hair and I even scolded her and asked her to be more careful next time. Little did I know it was the beginning of my hair loss journey. I was only 31.

By 2010, the bald patch had got slightly bigger and we assumed it was ringworm. I went to the hospital and was wrongly diagnosed with a bacterial infection and given drugs, which I took for a month. Meanwhile, I undid the weave I had and this time the bald patch was so big that it was alarming.

I went to the hospital again. The doctor suspected a bacterial infection, but since medication hadn’t worked earlier, I decided to see a dermatologist. By this time, I was wearing a wig as the bald patch was obvious. The dermatologist had no clue why my hair was falling off at such an alarming rate and prescribed oral tablets and an ointment for my scalp. Three days later, I developed blisters on my head. This was too stressful and I decided not to seek further medical help.

I had to make the painful decision of chopping my hair. I started wearing my hair short as it was still falling off. I would wake up and find strands of hair on my pillow. Sometimes it would fall off in the shower and combing it became a nightmare as the hair loss would get worse.

I decided to seek information online and that was how I stumbled upon alopecia, the scientific name for hair loss. I went to the hospital, but no one had a solution. Worse still, I had no idea the stress I was going through was aggravating the hair loss. I hid in my house for a whole year. I felt I was walking an extremely cold journey. I decided to leave work as I kept asking for permission to go to hospital.

In 2010, 2011 and 2012 all my hair fell off and I was left with a shiny, extremely sensitive scalp. Scratching always left a wound.

In 2013, I experienced total baldness (Alopecia Totalis). My eyebrows started thinning until they eventually disappeared altogether. I would look at my photos when I had hair and get angry. How I wished my hair would grow back. Depression was beginning to take a toll on me.

In 2014, I did not have a single strand of hair on my body (Alopecia Universalis). From the hairs in the nose to my eyelashes, all body hair deserted me. I became prone to ear and eye infections as I no longer had filters to trap the dust from the environment.

In 2015, I got the courage to step out in public. I had earlier alternated between wigs and hats, but they were uncomfortable, especially when it was hot.

I remember a nasty incident in a matatu, where a man sat next to me and slapped my head. He did it twice, causing a commotion in the vehicle. He asked me why women cut their hair. Luckily, he was kicked out of the vehicle, but I felt embarrassed.

My baldness is as a result of an autoimmune disorder, which I have managed to control with supplements.

The last doctor I saw told me that medical intervention would not help me and it would require a miracle for my hair to grow back. In 2017, a circle of hair grew on my head, but disappeared within a month.

I, however, was glad my hair follicles were not dead. I chose to live for God with or without hair and I dared to believe He will miraculously grow it back. Last year, I noticed my nose fur started growing. Lately, I have noticed my hair is sprouting on my scalp too. It is not very pronounced but it is encouraging. My eyebrows and eyelashes also grew back about five months ago.

We got together with other people with alopecia and formed a WhatsApp group dubbed ‘Tripple B” — Bold, Bald and Beautiful, where our slogan is ‘we are not our hair’.

The average adult’s head has about 100,000 — 150,000 hair follicles and each can grow about 20 individual hairs in a person’s lifetime.

“We do not have specific studies showing hair loss in Kenya. However, we generally know at least one in every two people will lose hair at some point in their life to whatever cause there may be. We are seeing thousands of hair loss patients seeking treatment in trichology centres, dermatology clinics as well as in hospitals,” explains Muli Musyoka, the lead trichologist at the Hair Hub Trichology Centre in Nairobi.

Dr Pranav Pancholi, a celebrity dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Avané Dermatology Clinic in Nairobi concurs with Mr Musyoka. “Alopecia is quite common today and in the last 13 years I’ve been in practice, we see at least two patients a day suffering from hair loss,” says Dr Pancholi.

“But, we have several cases of alopecia totalis that we have successfully reversed. I am yet to treat a case of universalis though.”

But at what point is medical intervention futile? “In autoimmune cicatricial alopecia cases where patients have lost excessive hair, the condition may be stopped but hair recovery may be impossible,” explains Mr Musyoka.

Science is also making giant strides towards finding answers for the people troubled with hair loss. Dr Pancholi speaks of a state-of-the-art Korean groundbreaking technology that has been tried and tested in Korea, which he is introducing locally.

“Trichoscopy (a method of hair and scalp evaluation, which is used for diagnosing hair and scalp diseases) has done well and is coming to Kenya. It consists of a device for hair care solutions,” says Dr Pancholi. “The device has a trichoscope, which counts and measures hair loss. Based on computer-based algorithms, it calculates how much hair loss is in each area.”

A few years back, hair loss was synonymous with old age. It was not unusual to see old men with receding hairlines or bald spots, especially right at the centre of the head. Today, a quick look around your work place or in the streets will reveal that more younger men are spotting the ‘bald look’.

However, if you dig deeper, you will discover for some it’s as a result of hair loss. The medical name for hair loss is alopecia and there are various types of hair loss. The balding that has become quite common in men is referred to as androgenetic alopecia, also affecting women.

Hair loss can be triggered by various reasons, which range from thyroid disease, anaemia, chemotherapy, high stress levels, lactation, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, skin conditions, scalp conditions like ringworm, protein deficiency, hormonal changes, diet, family history, excessive styling (too much heat, tight braids, tightly held hair), Vitamin B12 deficiency.

By Nation


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Business

Certified Homes Ltd Free Christmas & New Year Holiday Gifts

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Call/WhatsApp 0711 128 128
www.certifiedhomes.co.ke


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Diaspora

Kenyan Minting Money From Selling Muratina in UK

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A Kenyan man is minting money in the UK by brewing and selling the locally produced alcoholic drink, Muratina.

The brew is largely illegal in Kenya, however, for King’ori Wambaki, the Kikuyu traditional drink has made him a household name in Cheshunt, UK.

Wambaki has spent over 27 years in England, shifting from studies, working for foreigners and unveiling his own business.

He packages the drink, dubbed Muratelia, as wine spiced with honey. It contains 12 percent alcohol and is sold to customers under the age of 35.

a
King’Ori Wambaki (right) enjoys his drink. On the left is a fashion icon marketing a branded Muratelia bag
COURTESY

Muratelia is sold at between £10 (Ksh 1,491) and £25 (Ksh 3,727) depending on whether it’s sold on counters, retail shops, or restaurants.

“Cheshunt is located outside London. We used ingredients that are available here in the UK as we have not yet reached a point where we can import products from Kenya.

“The business provides income better than what I can earn while being employed, Wambaki who hails from Othaya, Nyeri stated while speaking with a local daily.

He disclosed that he made in-depth research and business plans on how to market his product. It has also been incorporated in the modeling and fashion industry through branded bags and clothes.

He has also created employment for the youth in the UK as he owns three restaurants and four shops.

What worked for him was that he had no competition as the drink was a new entity in the UK market. Wambaki is keen on expanding his business and the entrepreneur targets the local Kenyan market.

He said that he had applied for a business permit and license in Kenya, seeking to introduce his upgraded brand.

“The whites love it despite it being a Kenyan drink. In June we may start producing it in Kenya,” he added.

According to his LinkedIn page, the economist holds a Master of Science in Finance and Management and a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

a
A bottle of Muratelia in an advert posted on the company’s website
MURATINA
-Kenyans.co.ke


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Health

Coronavirus-burdened US warns its citizens against travel to Kenya

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The US government has issued a travel advisory to Kenya, citing an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, this despite the country being among those leading globally with the virus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in an updated health notice on Wednesday warned American citizens against travelling to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

CDC placed the four nations under Level 4 Alert, meaning there is a very high level of Covid-19 and all non-essential travel should be avoided.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Kenya. Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” said CDC in a notice.

If one must travel to these countries, they must strictly adhere to the health protocols on Covid-19 including wearing masks and keeping six feet distance from other people, CDC added.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” stated the US health institute on its website.

“During travel, wear a mask, stay at least six feet from people who are not traveling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and watch your health for signs of illness.”

CDC further urged American travellers to get tested for Covid-19 one to three days before travel and only leave the country after receiving the results.

Those returning to the US must also undergo testing one to three days earlier and adhere to all Covid-19 regulations.

According to the CDC, a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is the highest risk level and means citizens should strive to avoid all non-essential travel.

A CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice advises American citizens to practice enhanced precautions while a Level 1 Travel Health Notice advises Americans to practice usual precautions.

The warnings come as US reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Wednesday with 3,157 new fatalities and more than 273,799 people having died due to the virus and more than 13.9 million infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, Kenya registered the highest recoveries on a single day after 11,324 patients were discharged in 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 67,788 since April 1.

Similarly, 1,253 patients tested positive after 10,170 samples were analyzed in the same period.

Kenya’s caseload rose to 86,383 on Thursday out of 911,596 samples analyzed since March.

The Covid-19 death toll also rose to 1,500 after 16 more patients succumbed to the disease.

by NN


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